1. L 2. I 3. S 4. T 5. S — On Lists & Ranking

  January 6th, 2008



SWEET JESUS POTATO GUNS we love our lists.

Can I please have a day of Internets without another godforsaken Authoritative Top Ten List of important shit befouling my screen?

I remember seeing High Fidelity years ago and thinking: damn. People love lists. An entire film based around a man’s list-rank organization of his love life’s vicissitudes. & I remember simultaneously liking and feeling odd about that. It tapped into the geeky anal organizer in me, but it also felt cheap, easy, hydrogenated, canola-oiled, sort of throwaway and disrespectful of the experiences under discussion in the film.

Since then it’s only gotten worse, in media, art, blogs, & I’ve become increasingly alarmed at everyone’s insistence on reducing history & day-to-day experience to a tidy assortment of ratings, rankings — everything crammed through this OCD quantitative sieve.

It’s as if we don’t trust experiences unless we can package them & stamp them with a tag/number — so much anxiety in every step of that machine-like categorization. You can feel it pulsing behind the numbers, a teeth-chattering, skittery little ghost-droid, antennae frantically waving, robo-tentacles eager to seize more data parcels to slot & secure. Hell, I’ll be doing it at the end of this post.

The uninterrupted modern brain/eye-fuck of data datadatadadtaddtatdtatdata must make us this way. So much info hailing down upon us from every source that all we can do is try to make ourselves bots in the face of it: analyze, arrange, parse, order, next data set please.

My mother called me yesterday to hear my voice.

I said: “Mother, what are the top five reasons you love me?” She responded readily, with a tagged data set including supplemental links to her & my amazon wishlists.

I felt 6.5 EU (emotional units) of love at that instant, and we exchanged relational signifiers before disengaging our info-relay.
C. Way/ SnailCrow.com © 2008

[posted by C Way at 2:29 PM]


[file under: non-fiction & essays ]

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